Francesca Pola

  • View of “Gianni Piacentino,” 2015–16.
    picks December 21, 2015

    Gianni Piacentino

    Reverse chronology is the unusual strategy taken by this anthological exhibition of more than ninety works by Gianni Piacentino, curated by Germano Celant for the Fondazione Prada—an exhibition that accentuates and emphasizes the creative vitality of an artist who surprises and enchants at every turn.

    As early as the mid-1960s, Piacentino’s work was already seen as an alternative to American Minimalism; in fact, he had rejected the reductionism of “primary structures” in favor of a more complex notion of the essential. Following a strongly personal bent, he utilizes technological material,

  • View of “Enrico Castellani: Alla radice del non illusorio” (At the Root of the Non-Illusory), 2015.
    picks November 09, 2015

    Enrico Castellani

    An essential classicism, almost as if we were within the regular and inexorable breath of painting itself, vibrates through Enrico Castellani’s latest exhibition. “Alla radice del non illusorio” (At the Root of the Non-Illusory) offers fifteen works created between the 1960s and 2000 and allows viewers to follow the consistent path of this protagonist of the poetics of expressive reduction and annulment. He has been working in what has become his characteristic manner since 1959: monochrome canvases with concave and convex folds punctuated by regular sequences of nails inserted below the surface.

  • Jan Fabre, Teschio con le chiavi dell’inferno (Skull with the Keys of Hell), 2015, jewel beetle wing cases, polymers, iron, 9 x 8 x 7".
    picks November 05, 2015

    Jan Fabre

    “Knight of the Night,” Jan Fabre’s current exhibition in Florence, is wonderfully nocturnal; one might call it a voyage into the unknown regions of the regenerative power of one’s inner being, a visionary itinerary studded with glimmers and depth. Here, symbolic and archetypal figurations are arrayed—sculptures of scarab gems that depict skulls and of fragments of body armor—and the knight is the artist himself. Fabre identifies with Lancelot, of the Arthurian Breton romance and protagonist of the twelfth-century medieval poem by Chrétien de Troyes. Fabre first references the knight in his 2004

  • Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Trinità (Spatial concept, Trinity), 1966, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks August 16, 2015

    Lucio Fontana

    Lucio Fontana often succeeds in surprising us, even after decades of exhibitions and studies, and here he does so once again, at this homage offered by the Fondazione Marconi in Milan in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, on the occasion of EXPO. On view for the first time in Europe is the monumental and unique Concetto spaziale, Trinità (Spatial concept, Trinity), 1966, installed, also for the first time, as the artist himself conceived the work, via now-invaluable drawings from 1966, one of which is on display. The piece is a triptych of squares, each painted white and traversed

  • Vincenzo Agnetti, Permutabile (Permutable), 1967, painted wood with three movable modules, 21 1/4 x 23 1/2".
    picks August 14, 2015

    Vincenzo Agnetti

    This exhibition, which also appeared in Galleria Il Ponte in Florence, offers a broad selection of work by Vincenzo Agnetti, one of the most eclectic and innovative figures in Italian art in the 1960s and ’70s. In the late ’50s, Agnetti worked with Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni to conceive of the magazine Azimuth and the nearly homonymous gallery, Azimut. But by 1967, he began forging an independent path, becoming a central figure in Italy’s Conceptual art practices. Agnetti’s particular brand of Conceptualism is exemplified by a series of works for which—rather than simply substituting

  • Jacob Hashimoto, Never Comes Tomorrow, 2015, wrought iron, wood, plastic, cardboard, stickers, dimensions variable.
    picks July 21, 2015

    Jacob Hashimoto

    The title of Jacob Hashimoto’s new site-specific piece for his solo show in Verona, Never Comes Tomorrow, 2015, seems to allude to the inventive, cyclical nature of his work. Yet while remaining faithful to his signature style, Hashimoto is always able to find a new way of working, without repeating himself. Thus the pieces in this exhibition feel at once recognizable and surprisingly new. The show presents in sum a monumental, immersive installation of suspended wooden cubes, wrought iron, plastic, cardboard, and stickers, and new works from his well-known series of work developed from kites

  • Jannis Kounellis, untitled, 1967, cloth, canvas, bird cages, live birds, 110 x  118”.
    picks June 22, 2015

    Jannis Kounellis

    For those who want to encounter some of the mythical sites of Jannis Kounellis’s work, this two-venue show is not to be missed. The Milan gallery hosts monumental wall pieces from the early 1960s, works that go beyond the traditional coordinates of painting toward a primordial iconicity. Letters, signs, and fabric roses stand out against muted white backdrops, forming a new visual alphabet. The Pero exhibition space, in contrast, has a series of works that puts more emphasis on installation, where it is possible to discern some salient turning points in Kounellis’s language: from his revolutionary

  • Wolfgang Laib, The Rice Meals for Another Body, 2015, rice, dimensions variable.
    picks June 08, 2015

    Giovanni Anselmo, Wolfgang Laib, and Ettore Spalletti

    The most surprising thing about this exhibition is the natural way in which Giovanni Anselmo’s, Wolfgang Laib’s, and Ettore Spalletti’s visual languages tackle the space in their own ways. Each artist has created a site-specific installation on one of the gallery’s three floors, and their use of materials to allude to immateriality seems to be the subtle connecting thread.

    On the ground floor, Laib’s The Rice Meals for Another Body (all works 2015) consists of an expanse of grains of rice organized in Laib’s usual fashion into small, regularly spaced piles. In a sort of rarified counterpoint and